in

12 subtle signs of a materialistic person

It’s easier now than ever before to get wrapped up in the material things. Every year there’s a new phone to buy; every season, a new outfit to wear.

When we’re feeling down, our therapist is the mall. When we’re feeling happy, our go-to is a fancy restaurant.

While there’s nothing wrong with splurging every once in a while, it’s important to remember that money and status aren’t all the things that the world has to offer.

Study after study has found that being materialistic harms a person’s well-being.

If it’s so negative, why hasn’t anyone stopped themselves? Because they don’t know they’re being materialistic.

Learn about these 12 signs of a materialistic person to be aware of materialistic tendencies.

1. They Always Need The Latest Products

Social media has allowed anyone to keep up with the latest product releases.

Every year, tech companies release the next iteration of their devices: from laptops and phones; to audio devices and wearables.

These products are, of course, a percentage faster, delivering content at higher speeds and creating a better user experience.

Materialistic people are willing to upgrade their devices — even if it’s still working perfectly fine — just to say they have the latest product.

Having the latest products to flaunt elevates social status. It means that someone is up to date on the trends and, therefore, is still relevant to the world.

2. They Value The Brand

Brands dominate the world. Everywhere we turn, there’s bound to be a logo or a service that’s in use.

Brands are also viewed in different status levels. Materialistic people are brand conscious. They tend to place as much weight on whose product it is as much as what the product does.

This has become the trend of many luxury fashion brands. To the non-materialistic, a shirt is a shirt, pants are pants, and shoes are shoes.

As long as the clothes do their job — to protect you from your environment and keep you comfortable — it can come from any store.

What’s your superpower? Our revealing new quiz will help you discover your hidden superpower and unlock your greatest gifts in life. Check it out here.

But to those who keep a sharp eye on brand, these items are much more than a means to an end.

It’s viewed as status symbols. It’s a representation of where they stand on the social ladder — and they care about being on the upper rungs.

3. They Buy Things That They Don’t End Up Using

Each item bought should, theoretically, serve a purpose.

Money is exchanged for a drill to create a hole in the wall; money is spent for a book to deepen knowledge in a certain subject matter.

Products have a practical use and if they don’t, then it might as well have been money thrown away.

Materialistic people tend to be overly attracted to these discounts and promotional sales strategies because of how low the prices can go; it can get to the point where they ask “How could you not buy this?”

They consequently buy more than they need, mainly because it was at such a bargain for them. They buy things for the price, not for the use.

4. They’re Often On Social Media

Social media has allowed us to connect with families and friends much more easily than previous generations.

When high school friends disappear into the obscurity of their own lives, now with a few taps, we’re updated on their latest milestones.

There’s another, less interpersonal use for social media as well: to rack up the numbers.

Like a video game, materialistic people tend to spend their time online trying to get the highest number of reactions and shares on their latest posts and follower and subscriber counts on their online channels.

They concern themselves with how many people view their post, not necessarily who views them, even if it’s their old friend from high school.

5. They’re Concerned With What People Think Of Them

Materialistic people care about their image; their personal brand.

They wouldn’t be willing to try something that interests them if they feel like it’s “off brand” or something that they aren’t known for.

They want to stay consistent, much like how companies are, in their messaging, tone, and voice. This in turn limits materialistic people to what other people think of them, not what they think of themselves.

6. They Want To Fit In

We all have a natural need for belonging. As we evolved, we’ve come to seek refuge in large groups. If you aren’t caught up with the trends, you might as well be in exile or an outcast.

Materialistic people spend much of their resources to fit in and stay relevant.

This concern can often go so far as someone losing their sense of self, stripping them of what makes them an individual: their identity.

They might even augment their personality to fit into whatever’s the trendy way of speaking and acting.

7. They’re Competitive About Owning Things

To the materialistic person, a car is more than just a car, a house is more than just a house, and a phone is more than just a phone.

They’re all symbols that show which rung of the social ladder they’re on.

When they see someone with a nicer or more expensive car, house, or phone, materialistic people feel inferior.

Self-worth is placed on the amount and quality of the objects a materialistic person owns, not through their actions as a person or their personality.

Much like how centuries ago, kings and queens asserted their dominance with crystal gems and lavish quarters, so too do materialistic people assert their “dominance” in social gatherings.

8. They Place Much Importance On Their Possessions

Products aren’t all that bad.

Our phones have been the most powerful tools of the 21st century; it’s a camera, calculator, messaging and calling device, media player, workout buddy, and alarm clock.

What it tends to cultivate, however, is an over-reliance on these objects. Children no longer feel sane when left to their non-digital toys.

Leaving the house without a phone seems almost unthinkable at this point.

Without certain products, a materialistic person can start feeling antsy, like they’re not entirely sure what to do with their hands when left alone.

9. They Let Their Possessions Define Them

Materialistic people like to be known for what they have; the jewellry around their neck, the car that they drive, or the restaurants that they visit.

While what someone consumes can say much about who they are, materialistic people have a tendency to substitute their possessions for their personality and their values.

Since fancy restaurants are where the wealthy dine, it could follow that if they dine at the fancy restaurant, they will be seen as wealthy themselves.

They wouldn’t want to be caught eating somewhere that isn’t trendy or exactly “of their social status.”

10. They’re Concerned With Money

Materialism wouldn’t exist without the prevalence of money. In its truest purpose, money is simply a unit of exchange.

Our capitalist culture has seemingly let go of money being seen as a medium of exchange. Over the years, money has become increasingly seen as a social marker.

The more money one has, the higher they are on the social ladder.

When someone has more money, more opportunities and activities would be available to them, but it also exposes them to more problems (such as higher taxes and greed).

Materialistic people tend to ignore the problems that come with wealth and instead focus on vacations they can go on and the jobs they can leave if they just had a little more money.

11. They Equate Success WIth What They’re Able To Buy

The definition of success is subjective. Some see it as a state of being while others might see it as something to be bought.

Materialistic people tell themselves that only once they’ve bought the perfect house or bought the fancy car will they finally get to say that “they’ve made it”.

Time and again, however, we hear stories of people having reached success on such terms only to find another void to be filled.

Author David Brooks calls this form of success “the first mountain” while the deeper, non-materialistic kind is “the second mountain”.

Others reach their dream jobs only to find that they’re still living in reality, much to their chagrin.

While money can buy a significant amount of things, it can’t buy everything.

12. They Don’t Feel It’s Ever Enough

Companies are going to keep producing products.

There’s always going to be an entrepreneur looking to create a new venture that will attract a new set of people and get them to buy their services. It goes on and on.

So long as the capitalistic wheel is spinning, the materialistic person will never be satisfied with what they have.

There’s always going to be something newer and shinier to buy on the market.

Just because someone has materialistic tendencies doesn’t immediately make them someone to avoid.

It doesn’t overwrite someone’s friendliness and kindness when they continue buying products. In some ways, we’re all materialistic to some degree.

Living in a world without our devices and homes can be difficult.

The only thing that should be kept an eye on is if we control the products or the products control us.

What do you think?

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the editor of Ideapod and founder of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

15 reasons why gurus go into silence (and why you can, too)

10 tips for when you’re struggling through life